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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 1, 1993; 90(11): 5095–5099.

Molecular evolution of the Adh1 locus in the genus Zea.


We sampled DNA sequences from the locus encoding alcohol dehydrogenase 1 (alcohol:NAD+ oxidoreductase, EC Our sample represents Adh1 alleles from a wide geographic distribution of Zea mays (maize) and two species of teosinte (Zea luxurians and Zea diploperennis). Using these and previously published sequences, we analyze the molecular evolution of Adh1 in the genus Zea. We perform tests to characterize recombination and identify the putative parents of the recombinant Adh1-Cm allele. We also perform tests for selection but are unable to detect either a selective sweep or strong balancing selection at the Adh1 locus. We estimate that divergence times between teosinte and some maize alleles are approximately 1 million years, whereas divergence times between distantly related maize alleles are approximately 2 million years. We conclude that the common ancestor to the genus Zea was polymorphic at the Adh1 locus. On the basis of previous estimates of nucleotide diversity at other maize loci, it appears that the common ancestor to the genus Zea was polymorphic at many loci.

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